One type of ritual-working that I perform quite often is a Rite of Banishing. This entry discusses the general concept of such rituals, how I perform them, and why I perform them. The process presented in vague terms here is detailed more fully in my book, Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness. Those curious to know more about the life-path that led me to Tenebrous Satanism may also find something of interest in this entry… you see, I used to want to write fiction…
Introduction: what is a “banishing”?
“Banishing,” at least in my usage, is more or less a synonym for cleansing, purifying, etc. It just has wider implications re: not only ridding oneself of an issue, but distancing oneself from that issue’s source. A central goal of banishing is relief from unhelpful psychological baggage, so as to free oneself from mental/emotional fog.
I am thus talking about a practice that assists in coping with personal demons. This has nothing to do with the acausal entities I interact with as a Tenebrous Satanist. Often, ritual encounters with such beings do conclude with a distinct “separate oneself from the entity” phase. And this, too, may be termed a “banishing.” But what I am describing in this entry is distinct from that issue. It’s something that can support anyone’s mental and emotional health, regardless of whether they regularly interact with the acausal.
Indeed, for most people, causal (a.k.a. mundane) forces and influences actually waste far more of their energy than acausal ones. Relief from this – rather than “making entities go away” – is the primary aim of the practice I describe below.
Performing a Rite of Banishing
What this entry describes is just a very high-level overview. It’s meant to give an idea of what I do, without getting into the level of actually giving instructions. Details of my ritual praxis are spelled out much more fully in Nine Keys of Abyssal Darkness.
Preparation and opening
I almost-always perform rituals at night, and precede them with some form of meditation. First, I put on a pendant, black hood, and perfume which I only ever use in ritual settings. Lighting a candle, I state a general invocation to the forces of Darkness, during which I burn incense. I then turn to each of the four directions, performing elemental evocations directed at each. It would not be unfair to describe these proceedings as “like the LaVeyan rite, but more Lovecraftian in flavor.”
I’m under the impression that many Chaos Magicians and Luciferians do not see the necessity of this degree of ceremony. Here’s a previous entry wherein I talked about the rationale for nonetheless including this sort of thing in one’s rituals.
Statement of intent
Once I’ve established the ritual space, I proceed to tell the powers of Darkness – a.k.a. Dark Gods – what it is I want. For a banishing, this might be something like:
“Purge me of all energies that I have no use for, and forbid them from haunting or hindering me!”
This is followed by one of two possible statements, which I use to “coordinate” the energies I am raising. In some rites, I continue distinguishing the four directions throughout the rite. (“I turn now to the four directions, to make my will manifest!”) In others, I address Darkness as a singular force. (“Powers of Darkness, come forth in all your forms to make my will manifest!”) It’s a matter of, in my experience, some rites just work better one way, others the other. The current ritual takes the former approach.
Commands and visualizations
I next turn to each of the four directions, state a command, and then immerse myself in an appropriate visualization. Such visualizations will in some way reflect the elemental forces I evoked in each direction at the start. Each visualization I sustain as fully and vividly as I can manage, until I reach a point of satisfaction. For a banishing, this might be something like:
“Purify my will, for I am the Black Flame that cannot be extinguished!”
I visualize this flame engulfing the entire body, spreading outward, and consuming whatever I want to be rid of. This may entail the (mental) incineration of objects or people that relate to matters currently weighing upon me.
“Purify my mind, for I am the fresh, strong wind that destroys, yet also creates!”
I visualize this wind scattering and driving away detritus pertaining to whatever was troubling me. This frequently concludes in envisioning sitting in lotus position atop a cloud, looking down at how small everything looks below.
“Purify my body, for I am the seed sown in blood-stained soil, which grows forever anew!”
I visualize being buried in fertile ground, my body changing as vigorous sprouts and verdant blooms come forth. This is often accompanied by a strong sense of assurance that habits can be changed and weaknesses overcome.
“Purify my spirit, for I am the torrential rain that washes away all obstructions!”
I visualize being drenched in said rain, dissolving so as to become it, then going forth to scour the earth. Whatever is in my way shall be washed clean, dissolved, or drowned – whichever the psyche declares necessary.
* * *
With all of these, I plan the words ahead of time, but I anticipate the visualizations only in general terms. It’s best, I think, to let the unconscious mind invent its own details on the spur of the moment. In my experience, allowing this to run its course, without censorship, allows one to get the most out of ritual.
I do at times vary the exact wording of my banishings, according to circumstances. In the case given here, though, the East and North commands take inspiration from a specific source. That source happens to be The Black Book of Satan – a work of the Order of Nine Angles (ONA/O9A). Those concerned about what this may mean regarding Tenebrous Satanism should read this entry.
Conclusion and aftermath
Once the final visualization is complete, I rise from my meditation and state what I have accomplished. For a banishing, this might be something like:
“Thus do I banish all that opposes me!”
I follow this with the making of my offering. For example, I may burn herbs, directing the smoke in each direction; or, if outside, I may pour out a bit of alcohol in each direction. Whatever the offering consists of, though, I give thanks to the powers I have evoked as I proceed. I follow this by acknowledging each of the Nekalah by name, regardless of whether I evoked them specifically in the rite itself or not. (The general technique I’ve described here will still work without the magician “having to” do this. Doing it feels appropriate given my specific personal past experiences with Them, though.)
Finally, I close the rite in a standard manner, mirroring the formula of the opening. The most noteworthy component of this part of the proceedings is the need to “ground” the energy formerly raised. I direct my words and movements in this part of the ritual toward that end.
I almost always go straight to bed shortly after performing a banishing. This seems to be a good way to ensure one’s mental slate still feels “clean” upon awakening.
I’ll note in closing that banishing is not an easy or instant cure-all to psychological baggage. You have to repeat it at intervals to “stick,” and bad mental hygiene – e.g. letting oneself ruminate on the past – can defeat it. Nonetheless, I reliably find it offers some degree of immediate relief from feeling drained, haunted, weighed down, etc.
Why perform a Rite of Banishing?
Some general scenarios which I think are good to follow with a banishing include:
- Having to spend time around an individual or group of people who is annoying, manipulative, or etc. For example, a co-worker throughout the work-week, or family during a holiday period.
- Finding oneself trapped into worrying about things that one cannot physically or logically do anything about at this exact moment.
- Too much time on social media, whether resulting in numb exhaustion or emotional overstimulation.
My impetus to write this entry in fact stems from having performed a banishing recently. The issues preceding this are too personal and complex to unpack in detail within the current post. I want to sketch their outline, though, in case some reader may have experienced similar things, and felt similarly trapped…
My personal experience
For much of my adult life, I’ve aspired to publish some of my writing, originally by penning a novel.
The reason why you currently find me not a fiction writer, but an occult one, however, is because over the last decade or so, the creative artist part of my psyche has become, for lack of a better term, damaged, in ways that I am still coming to terms with.
In brief, there was a time when I got drawn into a psychologically-unhealthy worldview, unbecoming of a Satanist. Many parts of my psyche have since overcome this. Other parts, though – including the fiction-muse part – still struggle to separate themselves from that past.
The source of the damage
The crux of the issue stems from a time in my life that sucked me into being Way Too Political. In those days, I misperceived a certain worldview as an absolute requirement to “belong.” Embrace it without reserve, and you receive welcome into the increasingly-gatekeeped circles of the intellectual, creative and alternative. Struggle with it, and you find yourself pressured to silence your own intellectual & emotional objections in preference for the herd’s revelations. Reject it, and you had (I thought at the time) no future in anything that I actually saw as fulfilling and meaningful in life.
Membership in what I then mistook for “my tribe” thus came with two soul-crushing provisos: i) I cannot live in a way that I genuinely experience as true to myself, and ii) I cannot under any circumstances talk to anyone about my real feelings about this. Thus isolated, it increasingly seemed to me that there was something inexplicably and unalterably “wrong” with my being. “It” sought to occupy ever-more undeserved space in the world, via flawed creations that failed to serve The Cause. Better I should vacate the space I took up, to recompense worthier individuals for history’s wrongs – so ideology’s conscience insinuated. Anxiety about such issues ruined many years of my late thirties, at times verging on suicidal fixations.
This confession may confound some readers, given what I’ve said elsewhere about how, like it or not, everything is political. I do still think that is simply the blunt fact of the matter. It needn’t follow from “everything has political implications,” though, that “politics should be the only lens we ever look through.” And in particular, a Satanist ought not to fall into the kind of politics that’s no better than Christianity for fostering self-hatred. Such was my mistake.
A brief tangent about O9A
It seems worth pausing to clarify, here, that everything I just described preceded the era of O9A’s works influencing me. The issue is thus absolutely not “alas, people will judge me for dabbling with the Niner current.” For what complaint could be more laughable than that one? 😉
Rather, the issue was ideology making me feel that no inspiration of mine, ever, could live up to its dogmatic standards. I wished to explore various questions through my fiction, and ideology told me they were all the wrong questions. Ideology defined “harm” so broadly that no idea of genuine interest to me could avoid “causing harm.” It convinced me others’ approval required a discursive dance that I found agonizingly contrived, and couldn’t myself perform sincerely. Ideology called art “good” only if it doubled as propaganda, and “bad” insofar as it contained contrary contradictions and complexities. It shamed the would-be artist away from seeking inspiration from unapproved sources, but also shamed them for “appropriating” from approved ones.
Confiding concerns about any of this prompted dogmatic sermonizing that suggested zero empathy toward the total despair I felt. After all, “the ideology cannot ever possibly be wrong – the problem, then, must be you!”
I spent years struggling with these feelings. I threw out one creative work after another over its “inadequacies” – eventually questioning whether I just should throw myself out. O9A was not part of that era, though. To the contrary, O9A esotericism played a huge role in breaking me out of that cycle! I’m thus 100% reconciled with the “monster” I am on that specific front. It’s instead from a dysfunctional past that the forces I occasionally need to banish disproportionately come.
Coping with the damage
These days, I’ve become much more able to separate valid principles of The Cause from the dogmatic insanity surrounding them. What I’ve just described thus doesn’t trouble me on a daily basis. The problem I recently discovered, though, is that the fiction-muse part of my psyche yet remains compromised. Yes, it’s come a long way in regaining its youthful capacity to voice my inmost passions forthrightly. But it readily becomes mired in an obsessive need to Tell The Correct Story and Fix All The Problems. Blink, and it’s already laid out an impossible minefield of worldbuilding dilemmas, character-interaction-implications, and petty detail fixation. Valid reflection upon political implications balloons into the perpetually-dissatisfied hectoring of the dogmatic circles of my past.
Thus, amid work-related exhaustion necessitating a break from Nine Keys, inspiration seemingly struck re: fiction I’ll write later on. But on the heels of this bright spot a week ago came multiple days of demoralization. I thought I saw potential for numinosity in the work, and took notes aimed at pursuing it earnestly. But the more I plotted and struggled with worldbuilding, the more I found dogmatic concerns imposing upon me anew. The result was wasting a lot of time trying to solve problems that dogma itself constructed as impossible to solve.
A point came when I looked at my outline, and realized: this is not the story I want to tell. It is not my story. It’s the kind of story demanded by voices that continue to live in my mind against my will. And that herd is not who I am now.
Banishing and aftermath
And so, that’s when I decided I needed a banishing. My zeal had become overinvested in something that wasn’t actually bringing me joy, yet perseverance dysfunctionally pressured me to persist. As a result, I’d spent several nights failing to do other things that I would have enjoyed more. Broken intellectual and emotional dynamics surrounded the whole endeavor. Time for a reset.
An example, in connection to this, of an unrehearsed detail that emerged in my ritual’s visualizations: a burning book. Going into the ritual, that is definitely not something I had planned to meditate upon. Amid the visualization though, there it was: Burn the false book, and focus on the true one; abandon what is fruitless.
Afterward and in the days that followed, the compulsiveness of my unproductive “inspiration” burdened me no more. A brief rest, and I can wholly focus once more on advancing the cause of Tenebrous Satanism.
This experience has convinced me that now is not the time to be thinking, even distantly, of writing fiction. I need first to progress further down The Sinister Path, putting more distance between myself and dogma’s impositions. Otherwise I’ll just wind up wasting more energy on delusions that falsify what I really want my fiction to offer.
Such is the kind of insight and self-reflection that a banishing can present to oneself.
So, have you ever performed anything like a rite of banishing, yourself? If so, how is it similar or different from what I described here?
Or, is there anything in the ideological adventures I’ve described – vaguely, I realize! – that you can relate to?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
This post received minor edits for stylistic consistency on Aug 24/23.